86 Andover, MA: The Old School Try

[Andover Town Hall]

Before going to Andover, I called one of its residents that my SAS high school alumnae directory listed as living there. A prep school's bond is tight enough that I felt comfortable calling him even though we had never met before. True to the code, he didn't bat an eyelash in offering to answer my questions about Andover, Hopper, and isolation.

"Andover is a commuting suburb of Boston," he explained. "So it doesn't have that urban isolation of Hopper. Phillips Academy defines the social life here, with its events and offerings. I've lived here since 1993. There are a lot of high-tech firms in Andover now. We're a large geographic township but fairly heterogeneous. There are no extremes. At a coffee shop downtown you might get a cross section of townies, especially early in the morning; Phillips kids in the afternoon."

I didn't see any coffee shops offhand, so I backtracked to the Town Hall. The woman working the Town Hall welcome desk didn't want to answer my question, but she gave me a lead on where to go: the Lantern Café. She told me it was probably the oldest in town and most like one I would see in a Hopper painting. It took me five times with her Yankee accent to realize that she wasn't saying "Land End" but "Lantern."

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